68 – On Misguided Power …
Man’s ascendancy through his evolutionary path … from his adventure as an erect simian into the open savannas, to the realization that a group could kill bigger game, and all the way up to the technologically advanced and savvy competitor in today’s world … has been of a constant struggle for Power.
Before agriculture was introduced into primitive groups, the males had to risk their lives to hunt for food, while the females controlled and maintained the social structure that nurtured the group and its progeny. The advantages of agriculture to grow and store foods brought an end to this primitive structure, introducing the male to the concept of Leisure and to a whole new social struggle, the struggle for Power … to be the dominant ruler, to control his world.
The initial step to overcome this struggle was to take away the control of the social structure from the females. The second step was to dominate the rest of the males through brute force. But as lifespan increased into old age, dominance by brute force had to be substituted. The fabrication of imagined deities to explain the unexplainable and to inflame worship replaced brute force and provided the tools for control through deception and fear.
These are, of course, sketchy scenarios based on a very incomplete record of our evolution. But these primitive forces … strip power from the female and incite worship in the older male through deception and fear … are the same forces dominating our cultures today.
Three powerful and erroneous ideas were later introduced to fortify these primitive forces: 1. Descartes’ assumption that the mind is separate from the body, which led us to the false idea that because we can Think we are separate from and superior than Nature 2. Newton’s assumption that the Universe is mechanical, which led us to think that Nature can be understood by taking it apart and 3. Darwin’s survival of the fittest, which has been twisted as ‘Might makes Right’ to impose destructive political and economic ideologies. And with the advent of the industrial age and the Rights of individuals given to corporations (religious and otherwise), the notion that Power can only be achieved through brute force, destruction, deception, fear and without assuming responsibility for our actions, took over on a global scale as the most successful Paradigm for Humanity.
This is our current Paradigm: Brute force, fear-based obedience, harmful growth upon fragile resources, destruction without responsibility, unquestioning belief. This is the Paradigm we depend upon to lead us into the Future!!!
The unsustainable population growth this Paradigm demands (corporations need consumers and organized religions need followers) and the devastation it brings on the natural environment that gives us life, have wrought a crisis that is forcing us to question its destructiveness. But the patriarchal, political, economic and religious powers that benefit from it are fighting with everything they have. It is thus that any discussion on the most critical issue facing Humanity … unsustainable population growth … is obliterated.
We claim to have evolved higher intellects, to have attained higher levels of self-awareness, to have become highly ‘civilized’, yet the limiting and destructive notion that the success of a group, or society, or culture can only be achieved under brute power, deception and fear still dominates most male behavior, with the sad consequence that most women in positions of power take on the same male-like behaviors that easily overpower their nurturing instinct.
It is undeniable that under the domination of this Paradigm we have indeed achieved enormous ‘concentrations’ of wealth and amazing technological progress. Yet it is also undeniable that under this same Paradigm the devastation of unending war, violence, ignorance, genocide, starvation, environmental degradation, incredible levels of irrationality, hate, poverty and cruelty is rampant.
Can the male in our ‘advanced’ cultures realize that our lust for Power is not Creating but Destroying our future? Can we see that the perpetuation of our primitive and hostile mentality is the cause of the greatest crisis Humanity has ever faced? Can we understand that giving less power to the survival instincts that dominated our long-gone ancestors while instead giving more power to more creative forms of cooperation will not be horribly detrimental to our virility?
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